Heart of Horse Sense

Helping Veterans and At-Risk Youth in Western North Carolina

Mission & Vision

Heart of Horse Sense was founded to support quality, professional equine services for Veterans, their families and At-Risk Youth. Our vision is that every veteran and at-risk youth get access to the therapeutic opportunities horses offer. 

There are many wonderful ways that horses support growth and healing, and it's important that those services be offered in an ethical & safe manner, by well-trained and qualified professionals (both horses and humans). Too often programs with good intentions don't have the ability or the experience to offer the services our veterans and youth deserve.

Heart of Horse Sense fills the need to screen equine service providers in Western North Carolina and the surrounding area to meet the specific and unique needs of Veterans and At-Risk Youth. Approved programs must show their staff have training and/or experience in:  

  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning

  • Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

  • Mental Health First Aid

  • Natural Horsemanship/Therapeutic Horsemanship

  • CPR/First Aid

  • Veterans - Specific Training

Board & Staff

The Heart of Horse Sense Board of Directors has six volunteer members, in addition to founder Shannon Knapp.

Shannon Knapp

Founder & Executive Director

Shannon is an EAGALA Advanced Certified Equine Specialist, a Trauma-Focused EAP trainer, and has over 5000 hours working with clients with Therapeutic Horsemanship Programming


Greg Greiner

Financial Advisor -
Assistant Vice President

Greg joined Merrill Lynch in 2011. His team responsibilities include conducting investment research, portfolio construction, trading and retirement planning and modeling.


Jake LaRue

Jake LaRue is a Marine Corps veteran and a Peer Support Specialist. He has been a volunteer at Heart of Horse Sense since November 2013. 

Mike Sowinksi

Accountant and President of CFO Consultants and Board Member for several non-profits in Western North Carolina


Kathleen Berlick

Kathleen is a Retired Community Leadership Program Director (Leadership Lee County) and Management Consultant. Through her experience, she has seen how transformative horses can be and is committed to supporting HOHS in their mission. 

Mary Begley

Mary was born loving horses, grew up in the US Pony Club, & moved on to Combined Training as an upper level rider, trainer and coach. Her mutual respect for the sacrifice that both horses and veterans have given makes her an avid believer and supporter of HOHS.


Board Advisors

Mike Pace

Farrier who has partnered with Horse Sense of the Carolinas in the past, serving youth from the now-closed Swannonoa Youth Development Center

Dr. Ann Stuart

Veterinarian practicing with The Appalachian Animal Hospital

Are you an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning organization who would like to receive grants from Heart of Horse Sense to serve Veterans or At-Risk Youth? Email us for your application packet!   The current application period will begin March 1 with a call for proposals, with all proposals in by April 1. Programs will be notified of funding by May 1. Contact us at Shannon@HeartofHorseSense.org.

Grant Overview and Organization Info for 2017
All programs must fill out the Grant Overview and Organization info document (directly above), and then choose which of the following three scholarships is being applied for and fill out the appropriate application:

Individual Therapy Scholarship Application for Heart of Horse Sense

Veterans Program Therapy Scholarship Application for Heart of Horse Sense

Youth Program Scholarship Application for Heart of Horse Sense